I once had an acquaintance whose friends said he was a man with three heads. This was said half in amusement and half in mockery.
It was because he always had three opinions about every topic.
I feel a little bit like I have three heads as I write this. I cannot resist offering a few observations about the U.S. Mint’s new 2012 United States Mint Limited Edition Silver Proof Set.TM
It is no surprise to me that a set of this kind is being offered. The Mint needs new products. It also needs to generate more profits in the numismatic field to offset losses on cent and nickel production and the loss of the seigniorage from Presidential dollars that are no longer being struck for circulation.
The new set combines a currently very popular silver American Eagle proof with other 2012 coins made of silver. Anything made of silver is automatically popular these days with the precious metal hovering around $33 a troy ounce and with the possibility in the back of everyone’s mind that it could go far higher.
The price for the eight-coin set is $149.95. Being the collector that I am, I quickly added the $59.95 price of the proof Eagle sold separately earlier this year to the $67.95 cost of the regular 2012 silver proof set. The total of $127.90 is $22.05 less than the cost of the new set.
Is the package really that special? Well, collectors went wild for empty wooden boxes for the Statue of Liberty six-coin set in 1986, paying up to $100 for each on the secondary market.
But then we woke up and buyer’s remorse set in.
Will collectors willingly pony up that extra $22.05?
As an inducement, the Mint has limited production of this set to 50,000, a number that in past years has exerted a remarkably strong pull on hobbyists – but with this year’s commemoratives not so much.
And then my collector brain looks for a logical reason for these coins to be grouped together. Other than the Mint needs money, I cannot figure it out.
It would seem to me the logic here would dictate that an “S” proof Eagle should be in the set to make the coins uniformly all from the same mint. The Mint has already paid the price of complaints when it put an “S” proof in the coin and currency set, so why not one more? Unless of course, there are no additional “S” proof Eagles left and there is a surplus of “W” proofs.
So what we have is a bit of a hodgepodge. Nobody says the Mint can’t sell a prettily packaged hodgepodge. Other mints around the world do. But this opens the door to the special proof dime, quarter and half dollar set, compared to the official cent, nickel, quarter and dollar set, or the proof nickel, dime and half set.
You can come up with a variety of combinations. My three heads simply want to know why.